Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan Poetry Series)
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Annie Finch’s Spells brings together her most memorable and striking poems written over forty years. Finch’s uniquely mysterious voice moves through the book, revealing insights on the classic themes of love, spirituality, death, nature, and the patterns of time. A feminist and pagan, Finch writes poems as “spells” that bring readers to experience words not just in the mind, but in the body. Celebrated for her extraordinary love and knowledge of poetic craft, over the course of her career Finch has shaped her own innovative and radically traditional aesthetic. Her strange but familiar metrical language decenters the Self, creating a new, more open emotional relationship between ourselves, other people, and the world. Spells displays Finch’s virtuosity in a broad range of genres and forms, from lyrics, chants, and narrative poems to performance pieces, poetic drama, and verse translation. The book also includes a number of new and previously unpublished poems, notably her 1980s-era “Lost Poems,” experimental work in meter that prefigures postmodern reclamations of poetic form. This wonderfully talented poet gives voice to the female and earth-centered spirituality of our era. Her emotionally eloquent and rhetorically powerful work will echo in the reader’s ear long after the book is closed. Check for the online reader’s companion at http://spells.site.wesleyan.edu.
imperfection’s lonely grandeur, with the sharp delight of knowledge that pushes through her ears, the edge that cuts her vision from the dark. So the intellect of woman will not mind some scratches where the diamond’s edge has moved. Perfection’s habit opens us to find cuts in a window we have never loved. MOON Then are you the dense everywhere that moves, the dark matter they haven’t yet walked through? No, I’m not. I’m just the shining sun, sometimes covered up by the darkness. But
Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring begins to play as Snake enters from stage right and winds and twists around the stage. At 45 seconds, Snake exits stage left, as Cow enters stage right and walks slowly across the stage to exit stage left. At 1:14 seconds, two Birds fly [dance?] out from the same place, over the stage, and exit. Music ends at 1:53 seconds. Lights off, including light in egg. Beat. VOICE [male?]: Black, black of me, night of me, if you were real— ANOTHER VOICE [female?]: if you
towards beloved and malice towards foes, even though we see, singed with fire and with anger, the burning death of a friend we love. Fate is stronger, the Measurer mightier, than any of our ideas. Let us think where our home is and then consider how we came here, and then try always so we can enter on that eternal easiness where life is held in the love of the Maker, bliss in the Heavens. Let the Sacred One be thanked, that we’ve been made worthy— by the world’s Elder,
as you look you’ll see much, much more weeping. More tears will dampen my bed, with your eyes watching, though they trouble the sight of witnesses so rare. Humans are weary now. Their spirits sleep in the gentle hold of rest that pulls them deep. But my pain will last as long as the sky is bright, and when, almost completely broken, I am pulled to my tear-wet bed, I’ll plead and cry with hurt that will hold me through the whole long night. SONNET 13 [THE IVY AND THE TREE] By Louise Labé
shoulders through and lay flopping along the pier, with those open hands still held towards me. Now I know that was the day I lost my mind. She’s followed me the way a beggar could haunt a doorway. She’s in my shade whenever I feel empty or afraid. Look at her now; by now she’s growing old. We hear her every night, that singing, through the heartless air, carried on the cold enchantment of the California dew, futile and endless notes, a wordless clue poured out over the deafened land.